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What makes God smile?  Ephesians 5.10


Did you see it?  Tucked in the middle of the passage we considered in the last morning briefing was a little verse—one sentence—that has really made me stop and ask myself some questions.  Actually, in the New International Version, it is just a sentence fragment: “and find out what pleases the Lord.”  Yet the New Living Translation seems to up the ante a bit:                                               Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

My questions:  is there a difference between what pleases God and what honors God, and how do those differ from obeying him? 

Looking at all three as verbs, simply put they may be defined as:

please – cause to feel happy and satisfied

honor – show respect for

obey – comply, adhere to rules

These definitions, though brief, seem to shed a little light on the subject.

As I was praying and asking God for wisdom about this verse this morning, I flashed on a familiar family scene… and then compared myself to God, (only with regard to being a parent!)  Yesterday morning, my two teenaged sons went in opposite directions—Dylan to Newport Beach to body board at the Wedge, Danny to San Diego for tournament soccer.  But long about 9 o’clock last night, they reconnected for some video bonding—game of choice, SSX snowboarding.  From my office, I could hear them talking about it and laughing.  The point?  When my sons enjoy one another’s company, when they enjoy being together, it pleases me.  It makes me smile. 

In the preceding verses in chapter five, Paul has referred to us as children of God twice, so I believe that when we consider what pleases God, we are to look at it from the perspective of him as our Father.  Therefore, to please God is something sweeter than honor and obedience.  Are we to honor him?  Yes, of course.  Obey God?  Yes.  But when we desire to please him, to make him smile, we do so out of our love for him as our Father. 

From my mother’s heart, what pleases me when I consider my four children? 

In no particular order, I am pleased by my children …

…when they want to come home

…when they act responsibly

…when they seek after God

…when they use their talents

…when they confide in me

-------which means they trust me!

…when they laugh and are tickled.  How their joy thrills me!

…when they are thriving in life and relationships

…when they want to please me

…when they enjoy one another, and want to be together

…when they read good material

…when they help others, especially those who are unfortunate in some way

--------like people who are ‘different’ or struggle

…when they ask my opinion, value my thinking . . .

Clearly, I want to have a special place in the lives of my children, (Matthew-30, Amy-27, Dylan-18 and Danny-15 years old); little things and big things about them please me and make me smile.  And yes, I am like God my Father in that way. 

I believe it pleases God when I …                                                                     

. . . trust him. Without faith it is impossible to please God Hebrews 11.6                                          . . . honor my parents.  Colossians 3.20                                                                                                                                                                     . . .  sing praises to him, and thank him   Psalm 69.30-31                                                                                                                                        . . .  talk to him … when I pray!  Proverbs 15.8                                                                                                                                                        . . .  want to please him, and endeavor to live accordingly.  1 Thess. 4.1-12    

Oh, and then I think of the joy I feel when my children want to be with one another, and remember what the psalmist wrote, ‘How pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity.’  (Psalm 133.1)  Indeed, this reminds me of the similarities in what pleases my mother’s heart, and the heart of my Lord.  “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord,” Paul wrote, and perhaps this is a good start in our consideration … just the very thought that you and I might want to please God, just the thought that you and I even could make God smile! 


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